Three Cheers for the 'Progressive State': Ben Friedman on the moral consequences of economic growth

An interview with introduction by Brian Snowdon

Published: March 2008

Ben Friedman is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists. His research and publications have focused on monetary and fiscal policy, and the key role that financial markets play in influencing how macroeconomic policies impact on aggregate economic activity. Professor Friedman’s recent book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, has received considerable critical acclaim. Friedman argues that America is at an ‘economic crossroads’ and in this election year in the US, the important issues he highlights are especially poignant. Before discussing with Professor Friedman subjects addressed in this influential volume and his critical views on monetary policy strategies based on inflation targeting, Brian Snowdon examines several issues relating to economic growth and to the issue of rising inequality in the United States. Among questions explored in the interview that follows are ones relating to happiness and the ‘Easterlin paradox’; democracy and economic growth; culture, religion and economics; growth and the environment; growth, poverty, and inequality; market failure, public policy, and growth; and inflation targeting and the ‘dual mandate’.

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